The mayors of Portland, Oregon, and five other major US cities have appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarised agents to cities that do not want them.
“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque, New Mexico and Washington wrote to leaders of the US House and Senate.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty called for a meeting with acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf to discuss a ceasefire and removal of heightened federal forces from Portland.
Earlier in the day, a US official said militarised officers would remain in Portland until attacks on a federal courthouse cease – and more officers may soon be on the way.
US attorney for Oregon, Billy Williams, said: “It is not a solution to tell federal officers to leave when there continues to be attacks on federal property and personnel. We are not leaving the building unprotected to be destroyed by people intent on doing so.”
Local and state officials said the federal officers are unwelcome.
The city has had nightly protests for two months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. US president Donald Trump said he sent federal agents to Portland to halt the unrest, but state and local officials said they are making the situation worse.
Trump’s deployment of the federal officers over the 4 July weekend stoked the Black Lives Matter movement. The number of nightly protesters had dwindled to less than 100 right before the deployment, and has now swelled to thousands.
Early on Monday, US agents repeatedly fired tear gas and pepper balls at protesters outside the federal courthouse in Portland. Some protesters had climbed over the fence surrounding the courthouse, while others shot fireworks, banged on the fence and projected lights on the building.
Trump said on Twitter that federal properties in Portland “wouldn’t last a day” without the presence of the federal agents.
The majority of people participating in the daily demonstrations have been peaceful. But a few have been pelting officers with objects and trying to tear down fencing protecting the Mark O Hatfield United States Courthouse.
Williams, whose office is inside the courthouse, called on peaceful protesters, community and business leaders and people of faith to not allow violence to occur in their presence and to leave the city centre before violence starts. He said federal agents have made 83 arrests.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?